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Education Maintenance Allowance

Part of Opposition Day — [9th allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 1:24 pm on 19th January 2011.

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Photo of Andy Burnham Andy Burnham Shadow Secretary of State (Education and Election Co-ordinator) 1:24 pm, 19th January 2011

I am about to do that. The Government are proposing a scheme that is a tenth of the size of the previous one, so a fair assumption is that it will help one in 10 of the people who are getting help today. How is that compatible with the full participation in education of all 16 to 18-year-olds, to which the Government amendment refers?

I have never set my face against changes or savings to the EMA scheme. I proposed a change last year-that of giving young people between 16 and 18 the choice of unlimited free travel or EMA. Today I say this to the Secretary of State: I am prepared to discuss changes while keeping the principle of a national weekly payment scheme to support young people in education, but I am not prepared to see a successful scheme, which brings a huge range of social benefits, dismantled and replaced with a residual scheme a fraction of the size. He will have to work very hard to convince us that a scheme a tenth of the size will, in the words of his amendment, improve

"access to, enthusiasm for and participation in further and higher education."

How can it possibly do that?